“Deep in the night, when things were quiet on the highway, a low hum came from the opposite direction, punctuated occasionally by louder noises, the Therriens say. Soon, they say, they and their two small children were plagued by sleeplessness, nausea and other problems.”
SHEFFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Once it was just another cabin on a Vermont hillside. Now it’s an emblem in the debate over noise from the growing wind energy industry.
Studies have repeatedly found no evidence connecting noise from wind power turbines to human health problems. But critics question the soundness of those studies. Among them are Steve and Luann Therrien, who say a wind farm near their home made their lives hell.
The case has created a fissure among environmentalists in this liberal state with a reputation for green thinking, pitting those who see wind energy as key to reducing reliance on pollution-spewing fossil fuels against those convinced audible noises and inaudible “infrasound” present health threats to those living nearby. And each side questions the objectivity of the other’s research.
The Therriens’ old cabin is up 5 miles of dirt road from town, but is just a quarter-mile from a rural stretch of Interstate 91. The highway noise largely didn’t bother them.
But after the 16 turbine towers of the Sheffield Wind Project went up on a nearby ridgeline in 2011 — the closest about three-quarters of a mile away and five within a mile — things changed, the Therriens say.